Explore the significance of the character Mercutio in the play Romeo and Juliet

Although Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ does not focus on Mercutio, he is one of the most distinct characters of the play. He manages to control other characters of the play through his imaginative and powerful language. He generally takes the lead in conversations and his friends usually go by what he says.

Mercutio is neither Capulet nor Montague however his strong bond with Romeo associates him with the Montagues. In the play, Mercutio tends to stand out compared to the other characters; this is mainly since of his energetic and outrageous personality. His humorous character lightens the state of mind of the terrible romance and assists to increase the sympathy of the audience when he later on dies.

Mercutio is a catalyst, meaning that he has the capability to alter what people believe or do. An example of this is in Act 1 Scene 4, where Romeo is sad and doesn’t want to go to the Capulet’s ball however Mercutio lightens the state of mind with puns and word play;

“You are a lover; borrow Cupid’s wings”

An Elizabethan audience would have discovered this amusing because cupid was and still is very well known as being the god of love. Mercutio is comedian, always making jokes at every opportunity he gets. He lives life on the edge and is always trying to find something new and leaving to do. This might likewise make him a villain and mischief-maker, particularly when the Capulet’s are included. His inevitable death and the death of a number of others are brought on by Mercutio living life on the edge.

Read this– Puns in the Importance

Mercutio puts on a front which informs the audience that he does not respect females, such as the way he often utilizes animal features to explain females, “spiders … gallops … pig’s tail” maybe suggesting that females are less superior to guys.

However, when you look more detailed into his language you can see that his feelings go deeper, for instance, in Act 1 Scene 4, Mercutio discusses ladies resembling Queen Mab;

“Her wagon-spokes made from long spiders’ legs,

The cover of the wings of insects”

During the queen Mab speech in specific, he utilizes sibilance, sibilance it the repeating of the’S’ sound which makes this speech sound soft and I think that it shows his real passion for females. On the other hand, when he is talking to Romeo and providing him suggestions, he says to Romeo;

“Be rough with love; Prick love for puncturing,

And you beat love down.”

This could reveal that he may have had a previous relationship that may not have turned out so well. He might also be telling this to Romeo due to the fact that he doesn’t desire the very same thing to happen to him.

In Act 1 Scene 4, Mercutio’s imagination cuts loose as he is describing women as Queen Mab. This will start to show the audience Mercutio’s real sensations for ladies. He uses enthusiastic language such as;

“Tickling a parson’s nose as a’ lies asleep,

Then dreams, he of another benefice”

On the other hand, Romeo has a various view to that of Mercutio’s towards ladies. Romeo, who is rather naï ¿ 1/2 ve towards love, reveals the audience how much he enjoys everyone and whatever. He is always talking about how incredible love is and that it is the only thing that matters in the world.

“O, speak once again, intense angel! For thou art

As remarkable to this night, being o’er my head”

This can reveal that Romeo may not have remained in a genuine relationship, but just fantasising about it.

Mercutio and Romeo have a strong friendship; they are both incredibly loyal to each other and tend to help each other out;

“Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.”

They both have a strong impact on each other, which from Mercutio’s side tends to be positive however can often end up unfavorable but this does not occur all the time. In the death scene of Mercutio he blames Romeo for his death despite the fact that Romeo was just attempted to stop it.

In Act 2, Scene 1, after the ball Mercutio and Benvolio are trying to find Romeo; they still believe that he loves Rosaline. Mercutio then starts to scream out for Romeo, by way of shouting a spell;

“Nay, I’ll conjure too. Romeo! Humours! Madman! Passion! Enthusiast! Appear thou in the similarity of a sigh”

The shortness of his sentences and using exclamation marks emphasises his humour in his speech, suggesting a light hearted tone, this would have developed a more amusing scene for an Elizabethan audience. During this scene the actor playing Mercutio would most likely be dancing around with fictional props, pretending to brew up a potion.

He then continues to speak about Rosaline; he speaks about her in a manor that is impolite and obnoxious, he mocks Romeo as he thinks he is superficial and that he is only in love with Rosaline’s appeal;

“By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,

By her great foot, straight leg and shuddering thigh”

Here Mercutio is saying that Rosaline is a woman of the street and Benvolio believes that this would anger Romeo. Mercutio responds;

“This can not anger him ‘twould anger him

To raise a spirit in his girlfriend’ circle”

In this sentence Mercutio starts to use sexual recommendations; he states it would only anger Romeo if another person was to sleep with Rosaline. During this scene Mercutio is loud and energetic. A contemporary audience would think this amusing and witty but an Elizabethan audience may have been more surprised at what he was saying.

Throughout Act 2 Scene 4, Mercutio and the Nurse fulfill. In much the same way similar to Rosaline, Mercutio is again vulgar about the nurse;

“Great Peter, to hide her face; for her fan’s the fairer face.”

The repetition of the letter ‘F’ emphasizes an extreme tone and suggests to the audience a sensation of disgust towards the nurse. Mercutio is saying that the nurse is unattractive, however she does not let this pass as she is aggressive and states;

“Out upon you! What a man are you!”

This reveals the Nurses shared disliking for Mercutio also.

In Act 2, Scene 4, Mercutio compliments Tybalt’s abilities as a fighter; he calls him “Prince of Cats”. This is because Mercutio believes that Tybalt is quick on his feet and a fast swordsman, Tybalt wins all of his battles, Mercutio says that he has “9 lives” for this reason.

“Do not think he’s just the Prince of Cats!

Oh no– he’s way more than that.”

Although Mercutio is saying how much of a good swordsman Tybalt is, he still winds up battling him and paradoxically Mercutio loses, he does this since he is a flaunt and he believes he is best. When Mercutio obstacles Tybalt to a battle, Tybalt asks “What wouldst thou have with me?” Mercutio responds;

“Great king of cats, nothing however among your 9 lives”

This reveals that Mercutio is still utilizing references to Tybalt being “the Prince of Cats”. Also even when he has been stabbed by Tybalt, Mercutio states that the wound is just;

“A scratch, a scratch”

In Act 3, Scene 1, where Mercutio is nearing his death, he suddenly becomes a lot more severe, however due to the fact that of his ego he still handles to make witty remarks and keeping the comedy going;

“Request me to-morrow, and you will discover me a grave man.”

I think that since of Mercutio’s character, and always making things even worse, he brought upon his own death despite the fact that in his mind he would have believed it was a good thing to do. Shakespeare probably killed Mercutio off here since it develops a climax and develops a significant effect.

In my viewpoint Mercutio has brought his death on himself by his antagonistic character, and constantly provoking others. He lastly meets his match, Tybalt. Although, I do not think the play would be what it is without Mercutio, as a comic character is required, for instance; to assist lighten moods of scenes when required. Without Mercutio in the play, Romeo and other characters would have passed away a lot sooner, suggesting to the audience that Mercutio is a hero in some way. On the other hand, everybody might have survived as it was normally Mercutio that pressed things on, often making things worse.